|Photo: Lucie Lapovsky|
Most chief academic officers at colleges and universities were very skeptical of online learning when it was in its infancy, today, according to a recent survey, more than 70% of them now believe it is critical to their long-term strategy. The Chief Academic Officers find that the outcomes from distance education courses are equal to or better than those of traditional, on the ground, courses.
More than 5 million students or 25% of all college and university students are enrolled in distance education courses according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Eleven percent of students are enrolled exclusively in distance education courses while 14% are enrolled in some traditional and some distance education courses. Enrollments in online courses have been growing much faster in recent years at public and private institutions than at for-profit institutions which were the early adopters of this type of course delivery.
Almost all schools with enrollments of 5,000 students or more offer distance education/online learning courses and 80% of those with enrollments of fewer than 5,000 students offer distance education. At the smaller schools, these may be entirely on-line courses or a part of a traditional course. This data comes from the recently completed 2014 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson and Tyton Partners.